TOPANGA, CAWill Geers Theatricum Botanicum kicks off its All-Shakespeare Summer Season in celebration of the Bards 450th birthday with a gender-reversed King Lear for the 21st century, opening on Saturday, June 7 at 8 p.m., and the return of the companys signature rendering of A Midsummer Nights Dream, with performances beginning Sunday, June 8 at 3:30 p.m.
Theatricum artistic director Ellen Geer takes on the title role in a new production that sees Lear divide her kingdom and test the loyalty of her three sons. Shakespeare's sublime poetry infuses this towering tragedy, a tale of madness, tyranny, loyalty and love.
Joining Geer onstage are longtime company members Aaron Hendry as Goneril, Christopher W. Jones as Regan and Dane Oliver as Cordelian. Alan Blumenfeld portrays the Earl of Gloucester; Abby Craden is Gloucesters elder daughter, the bastard Igraine; and Willow Geer is her younger half-sister, Eden. Ellen Geer and Melora Marshall co-direct.
On Sunday, June 8, cast members Willow Geer and Melora Marshall will be back on stage for a matinee performance of A Midsummer Nights Dream (which they also co-direct) this time in the roles of Helena and Titania, respectively. Returning to the cast are Samara Frame as Puck, Katherine Griffith as Bottom and Michael McFall as Oberon.
In this signature Theatricum production, Shakespeares most beloved comedy pits mischievous sprites against heartsick humans for a magical night of revelry, chaos, love and comedy.
DINNER AND A SHOW
Mediterranean buffet dinners, with a costumed cast of fairies in attendance, take place Thursdays and Fridays in August at 6:30 p.m. in the theater's adjacent gardens, followed by an 8 p.m. performance (separate admission or combo packages available).
Theatricum Botanicum has been named One of the 50 Coolest Places in Los Angeles by Buzz magazine; One of Southern California's most beguiling theater experiences by Sunset magazine; and Best Theater in the Woods by the LA Weekly. Says Los Angeles magazine, The amphitheater feels like a Lilliputian Hollywood Bowl, with pre-show picnics and puffy seat cushions, yet we were close enough to see the stitching on the performers costumes. Grab a blanket and a bottle and head for the hills.
King Lear opens on Saturday, June 7, and runs through Sept. 28. A Midsummer Nights Dream opens on Sunday, June 8, and runs through Sept. 27.
The two productions will be joined later in the season by three additional main-stage offerings: Alls Well that Ends Well, opens June 22; Much Ado About Nothing, opens July 12; Equivocation opens Sept. 5 and runs through October 4.
For Thursday dinner and play combos, call theater for pricing. Advance reservations are required.
For tickets: Adults, $37 (lower tier); $25 (upper tier); Seniors (60+), Students, Military Veterans, AEA Members are $25/$15; Children (7-12) are $10; Children 6 and under are free. For a complete schedule of performances and to purchase tickets, call (310) 455-3723 or log onto theatricum.com.
Will Geers Theatricum Botanicum is located at 1419 North Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga, CA 90290. Audience members are advised to dress casually (warmly for evenings) and bring cushions for bench seating. Snacks are available at the Hamlet Hut, and picnickers are welcome before and after the performances. Visit Theatricum on Facebook: Facebook.com/theatricum or follow us on Twitter: @theatricum.